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Public Policy or Popular Demand?

Why Californians Shifted from Trains to Autos (and Not Buses), 1910-1941

Gregory Thompson

This essay examines the transition from a rail-based intercity transportation system in California in 1910 to a road/private auto-based system thirty years later, with hypotheses that the transition could be explained by either corporate and state decisions for supplying infrastructure or by public demand. The essay examines trends of automobile ownership, road investment, bus organization and service provision, intercity passenger rail service provision, and intercity rail revenues, both within California and to and from California in each of the three decades. It concludes that public preference for private automobility explains most of the transition but that unserved demand remained for fast passenger train service between the state's large metropolitan areas. Failure to serve that demand derived from California's legacy of popular disdain for the private railroad industry.

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Vicki Caron

Robert Badinter, Un Antisémitisme ordinaire: Vichy et les avocats juifs (1940-1944) (Paris: Fayard, 1997).

Richard H. Weisberg, Vichy Law and the Holocaust in France (New York: NYU Press, 1996).

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Policy Activism in a Globalized Economy

France's 35-hour Workweek

Gunnar Trumbull

In June 1998, France’s Aubry Law initiated the move to a 35-hour workweek, a process that became mandatory for all private companies with more than twenty employees in January 2000. The three-fold goal of the Aubry legislation has been to lower the level of unemployment in France, to introduce greater flexibility into French labor contracting, and to bolster France’s weakening labor unions. When it was announced, the project was greeted with skepticism, verging on ridicule, from the economic community. The Financial Times suggested that the law was “little more than symbolic.”1 Economist Paul Krugman declared it “conceptually confused.”

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Jeremy Valentine

This article attempts to show how the conventional opposition between art and culture, on the one hand, and administration and organization, on the other, has been displaced. The main reason given for this phenomenon is the convergence of the collapse of notions of the political and aesthetic causality of art and culture with the destabilizing effects of postmodernism on organizational and administrative stability. After a discussion of the emergence of political regimes of audit within relations between culture and administration, the article locates the causes of the dominance of 'cultural governance' within the dynamics of modernist aesthetic values such as autonomy. The article concludes with a discussion of some optimistic possibilities that may arise from this scenario.

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Ecosystem integrity and policy coherence for development

Tools aimed at achieving balance as the basis for transformative development

Harlan Koff, Miguel Equihua Zamora, Carmen Maganda and Octavio Pérez-Maqueo

If aliens were to look down on planet Earth and observe us, they might be led to believe that the natural state of humanity is crisis. Whether we focus on politics, economics, society or the environment, it seems that crises are perpetuated and possibly even expanded in global affairs. For example, we have recently witnessed war in places such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, expanded flows of refugees and the resulting nativist fears expressed in those countries where they arrive or could potentially arrive, unprecedented global financial crises, the depletion of natural resources and our alleged contribution to deadly disasters (such as Typhoon Haiyan in 2013) through climate change. Borrowing from Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr’s observation of 19th century French politics, we may argue that “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” (http://www.histoire encitations.fr/citations/Karr-plus-ca-change-plus-c-est-la-meme-chose)

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Alberto Clò

In 2006, the energy question—and in particular the natural gas emergency

that will be discussed here—was brought to the attention of

public opinion, of political and economic debate, and of the electoral

contest. First, it needs to be made clear that on both sides, and within

the two coalitions, demagoguery prevailed over pragmatism. Similarly,

the propensity to demonize the proposals of opponents tended

to hold sway over attempts to contribute constructively to the discussion.

Thus, a game of mutual vetoes and false propositions took place,

characterized by erroneous diagnoses aimed solely at avoiding the

electoral costs that the required choices would have imposed. This

had the inevitable result of confusing public opinion, which should

be aware of the issue, and feeding the general “right of veto,” which,

since before the reform of Title V of the Constitution, has allowed

anyone to prevent others from doing anything—with the result that

nothing happens.

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Jozef Pacolet and An Marchal

What’s in a name? ‘Social quality’ is an attractive yet vague concept. It has an appeal in the context of post-industrial aspirations to rise above the quantitative and the material, towards qualitative, immaterial goals; it emphasises ‘social’ aspects that lie beyond individualistic preoccupations and are oriented towards considerations of collectivity and solidarity. These aspects can be represented in terms of two dimensions (Figure 1), where the notion of social quality is situated in the upper left quadrant. But does this show the real content of this ‘container concept’, and does it reflect present everyday reality? The concept of social quality has been adapted (or rather adopted) in the context of the labour market in terms of the notion of ‘flexicurity’. We shall discover that to an important extent this notion includes both ends of the dimensions; in other words, it is not what it seems.

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Pekka Kosonen and Jukka Vänskä

Our standpoint is that temporary employment is also related to employment security, since an extensive use of temporary work (for a specified, often short, period) tends to increase insecurity of the workers. Another problem is connected to lay-offs. However, the most crucial question deals with the termination of employment contracts, in particular undetermined duration contracts. If this is made very easy for the employers, employment security is reduced. Finally, the conditions and levels of compensation in all of these cases are of importance in terms of income and employment security.

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Erzsébet Bukodi and Péter Róbert

European labour-market patterns tend to contain a growing element of flexible employment, which deviates from the norm of the secure, lifelong career. What do we mean by flexible work? Dex and McCullogh (1997) offer the following definition: ‘Flexible work … is a description of a change in the distribution of labour market jobs, away from standard full-time permanent employee contracts, and towards a growth in various types of non-standard employment forms.’ Pollert (1988) argues that flexibility refers to a combination of different factors. It involves firms being flexible enough to be able to respond quickly and efficiently to technological and economic changes; it also refers to organisations that are flexible in terms of employee numbers. In addition, it refers to a workforce that is multi-skilled and/or flexible with regard to time. This may result in a trend for firms to retain ‘core ’employees who work flexibly, with a periphery of employees who are flexible because they are irregularly employed. The result of this process is that employment is no longer as stable as it was. The development of the new, flexible labour market undermines security, leading to the so-called ‘risk society’ (Crompton et al.,1996).

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Heloísa M. Perista and Pedro Perista

This paper is organised into six main parts: first, this introduction outlines some general features of the Portuguese labour market; the second part deals with the main characteristics of employment relations; part 3, ‘Working time ’, provides some further observations regarding employment, focusing on the number and distribution of working hours, and on workers subjective considerations; part 4, ‘Income security ’, analyses a number of indicators concerning remuneration and social protection; part 5, ‘Forms of care leave ’, further develops the issue of social protection in its specific relation to leave for care purposes, and the possibility of combining care responsibilities with professional activity; finally, part 6 discusses the issue of flexicurity in Portugal, and its trends. It should be noted that,due to the unavailability of harmonised European data for all the relevant issues, we have had to resort to national data. However, for some indicators (fortunately few), it was not possible to gather the appropriate data. In these cases, the unavailability of data is referred to in the text.